AJ Boydston

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow Caltech (2008-2010)
Advisor: Robert H. Grubbs

Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin (2007)
Advisors: Christopher W. Bielawski and C. Grant Willson

B.S. and M.S. University of Oregon (2001, 2002)
Advisor: Michael M. Haley

AJ began studying chemistry as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon under the guidance of Professor Michael M. Haley. His research focused on the synthesis and study of dehydrobenzoannulenes. After completing BS and MS degrees, he began doctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin in the laboratories of Professor Brian L. Pagenkopf. In 2005, AJ joined the group of Professor Christopher W. Bielawski, also at UT-Austin, and was co-advised by Professor C. Grant Willson. He completed his thesis research focused on the synthesis and applications of annulated bis(imidazolium) chromophores. After graduating in 2007, AJ moved to Pasadena, California to take an NIH postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology. There, he worked under the mentorship of Professor Robert H. Grubbs to develop new catalysts and methods for the synthesis and characterization of functionalized cyclic polymers. He returned to the Pacific Northwest as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington in the summer of 2010. Recently, he has been the recipient of an Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, Cottrell Scholar Award, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award.


Dr. Chang-Uk Lee
Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2013
M.S., University of Tennessee, 2006
B.S., Pusan National University, 2004

Chang-Uk is originally from Pusan, South Korea where he graduated with honors with a B.S. degree in Polymer Science and Engineering. He then completed M.S. and Ph.D. degrees focusing on a combination of materials science and synthesis of advanced polymer structures. During his doctoral studies under the guidance of Prof. Donghui Zhang, he worked on synthesizing a new class of peptidomimetic materials (polypeptoids, structural mimics of polypeptides), cyclic block copolypeptoids, and studying their self-assembly in solution and macroscopic properties. He then took an appointment as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER). In April of 2014, Chang-Uk made the move to Seattle to join the Boydston group as a postdoctoral fellow and begin studying polymer mechanochemistry.


Bo Cao
B.S., Sichuan University, 2013
M.S., The University of Pennsylvania, 2015

Bo is originally from Shanxi, China. He received his bachelor’s degree at Sichuan University (SCU) in 2013, majoring in Polymer Science and Engineering. His undergraduate research focused on melt-processing of polymer blends. He then moved to Philadelphia and started his master’s degree in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducted his master’s research in Prof. Shu Yang’s lab in the area of microfabrication of stimuli-responsive polymers and their pattern transformation studies. In December 2015, Bo officially joined the Boydston Research Group. Bo enjoys watching movies and hiking in his spare time.

John Goldstone
1986 BA, Business Administration, Finance (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude) – University of Washington
1988 MBA, Marketing & Statistics emphasis (W. Hunter Simpson Scholar)– University of Washington
1988-1995 Market Research Manager, Market Development Manager, Weyerhaeuser
1995-2008 Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, Project Manager Advisor, Weyerhaeuser
2008-2014 Director, Technology Licensing, Weyerhaeuser

John has over 25 years of success translating scientific and technical innovation into commercially viable product and licensing revenue streams. He’s consistently worked with patent holders, business representatives, legal counsel and executives from both selling and buying organizations to secure deals that offered both attractive revenue and favorable tax benefits. He has over five years experience prospecting for, negotiating term sheets and agreements, and closing 14 licensing transactions and 6 divestitures that’s brought more than $15M of previously unrecognized or overlooked revenue.

As Director of Technology Licensing at Weyerhaeuser, John drove the company’s strategic bias to license or divest technology in order to decrease the cost of in-house research and development. He’s worked with teams of scientists, engineers, and legal and business leadership to evaluate, determine, and present which technologies to license/divest. In addition, as a representative for Weyerhaeuser on a Joint Development Agreement, John led a team to re-open negotiations on fertilizer technology twice with an industry leader. His efforts achieved the company’s most successful license with royalty fees from the U.S. and 8 other countries.

In all of his roles, John has been a resourceful and perseverant professional as well as a resilient licensing and deal-winning key contributor committed to optimizing the return on investment for innovation and technology by making the deal successful for both parties.

Tori Kensy
B.S., Colgate University, 2014

Tori is originally from Holland, NY.  She received a BS in chemistry from Colgate University in 2014. Her undergraduate research with Professor Rick Geier focused on one flask syntheses of porphyrinoids. Tori made the cross-country trek to the Pacific Northwest and soon after joined the Boydston research group, in December 2014. Her projects currently focus on new designs for self-immolative polymers and materials for triggered release of small molecules. Outside the lab, Tori likes traveling, cooking, and spending time with friends.

Daniel C. Lee
B.A., Cornell University, 2014

After coming to the United States from South Korea when he was 5, Daniel was raised in New York City. He later attended Cornell University where he received a BA in chemistry and psychology. For his undergraduate research, he studied the effects of different allosteric modulators on the single channel kinetics of glutamate receptors. He then moved to New Orleans to work as a chemist in the petrochemical industry for two years before starting his PhD with the Boydston group in Autumn 2016. Outside of lab, Daniel plays volleyball, coaches policy debate at UW, and enjoys traveling.

Pengtao Lu
B.E., East China University of Science and Technology, 2013
M.S., The University of Akron, 2014

Pengtao is originally from Shanghai, China, where he began studying polymer science and engineering at East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST). After he completed his B.E. degree in the Department of Polymer Materials, he then got the chance to study at the Department of Polymer Science at The University of Akron. During his master studies under the guidance of Prof. Stephen Z. D. Cheng, he focused on synthesizing newly-designed soft matter by conjugation of functional fullerene with polymer, and studying their self-assembly morphology in solution. In November of 2014, Pengtao officially joined the Boydston research group.

Laura Murphy (National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellow)
B.S., Pacific Lutheran University, 2013

Laura is originally from Woodinville, WA. She received a BS in chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University in 2013. Her undergraduate research with Dr. Andrea Munro focused on CdSe nanocrystal surface chemistry. Additionally, her undergraduate research with Dr. Neal Armstrong at the University of Arizona focused on charge transport studies at OPV-relevant interfaces. Laura joined the Boydston Research Group in December 2013. Outside of lab, Laura enjoys swimming, listening to country music, and spending time with family.

Johanna Schwartz (NSF Graduate Research Fellow)
B.A., Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 2014

Johanna grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and received her BA degree in chemistry and biology from Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 2014. Her undergraduate research with Dr. Chulsung Bae at UNLV focused on synthesizing more efficient hydrogen fuel cell polymers. She also worked with Dr. John Ketterson at Northwestern focusing on improving the synthesis and purity of cuprous oxide. While aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer as part of the SEA semester program, she worked with Dr. Jeff Schell identifying and characterizing thin phytoplankton layers in the Sargasso Sea. For her Bachelor’s thesis research, she worked with Dr. David Myers at Simon’s Rock, focusing on natural product synthesis. Specifically the research focused on the synthesis and biological testing of antibiotically and antifungally active alkynoic acids and butenolides. Johanna officially joined the Boydston group in December 2014. Outside of lab, Johanna enjoys playing guitar, listening to music in general, arts and crafts, and hanging out with any friend that actually has the free time to hang out.

Ashlynn Vander Meer
B.S., University of Washington, 2015

Ashlynn is originally from Puyallup, WA and was homeschooled to her Junior year of High school where she entered the Running Start program at Pierce College. At Pierce she became a chemistry and mathematics tutor in 2012. Ashlynn graduated with honors with her AS degree in chemistry and engineering in 2013 before transferring to the University of Washington. After joining the Boydston group in September 2014, she graduated in 2015 as a Chemistry Major. She has also decided to pursue her PhD in chemistry at the University of Washington. Outside of the lab, Ashlynn enjoys reading, baking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Johanna Vandenbrande

Nasser Alrashdi

Former Postdocs and Students

Postdocs (current position)
Derek Church
Yosuke Ashikari
Eric Finney (Pacific Lutheran University)
Damian Dunford (University of Washington)
Adam Goetz (Pfizer)

Graduate Students (current position)
Derek Church, PhD 2017 (University of Washington)
Kelli Ogawa, PhD 2015 (Dow Chemical Company)
Greg Peterson, PhD 2015 (postdoc with Matthew Becker)
Mike Larsen, PhD 2015 (postdoc with Marc Hillymer)
Hira Khalid, visiting PhD student (Assistant Professor at GC Women University, Sialkot, Pakistan)
Sophia Tran (University of Washington)
Zeran Wang
Erika Buckle (University of Washington)
Carl Thrasher, MS 2017 (Air Force Research Labs)

Undergraduate Researchers
Dorothy Ackerman
Neha Ansari
Thomas Bearrood
BeiBei Chen
Alice Chu
Candice Cooper
Marian Dobles
Tariq Jabaiti
Stephanie Wang
Madeline Wong
Gedion Yitref
Se Ah Yoon